Violent scenes in Germany at the end of April could be repeated in Scotland this summer when a shipment of spent nuclear fuel rods arrives at the Dounreay reprocessing plant in Caithness.
A ship carrying highly enriched uranium waste from a reactor in New South Wales. Australia. is due to arrive early in June. lts cargo is already sparking protests from MPs and groups such as Friends of the Earth (FOE). Greenpeace and Scotland Against Nuclear Dumping (SAND).
When a similar consignment of fuel rods was transported across Germany at the end of April. it needed a massive police escort and resulted in 200 arrests with twenty people injured.
However. protests in Scotland are unlikely to he on the same scale.
according to FOE spokesman George Baxter: ‘We don‘t envisage things getting to that state because of the logistics of getting people up to Dounreay. The opposition will be mostly political — the Australians will get the strong message that the majority of people in Scotland don‘t want their nuclear waste.‘
Reprocessing nuclear waste produces reusable weapons grade uranium. However. the process involves radioactive emissions into air and sea and increases the volume of waste 85 times —- a waste which Dounreay would have to store indeﬁnitely.
A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Agency (AEA). who run Dounreay, stressed the Australian government had made a commitment to accept the waste back but said it had to be reprocessed first: ‘Reprocessing
renders the waste safe and in a form which can readily be disposed of.‘ he said.
‘Australia are supposed to take back their nuclear waste.‘ Lorraine Mann. a spokesperson for SAND admits. However. because so much waste is created by the process she believes returning it will be nearly impossible: ‘There is no guarantee that Australia will accept it — Scotland still has Australian waste from [963 that they don't want back.‘ she claimed.
Protest groups also dismiss claims that reprocessing will secure the I300 jobs at Dounreay. ‘Foreign reprocessing at Dounreay will only preserve 409 jobs,‘ Mann said. ‘and many times this number will be lost through the impact nuclear emissions will have on fishing. agriculture and tourism.‘ (James Blake)
Dounreay braces itself for conﬂict over nuclear wast
a.“ ‘* “'
Nuclear waste: protests in Scotland will be hampered by Dounreay’s remote location
GOMA courts LooneyTunes controvrsy‘
Roger Rabbit: started animation revival
Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (COMA) is set for further controversy over plans to display ‘animation art’ in a link-up with the retail arm of Warner Brothers, the movie studio responsible for Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.
00MA, which has already been criticised by the art establishment for its populist approach, will display a series of exhibits on loan from the company, although the arrangement may later become permanent.
All Warner Brothers stores include galleries of their own, which sell items such as original animation cells from cartoons. The deal was announced when Cary Cogan, who manages the company’s galleries in shops around the world, visited Glasgow’s newest gallery.
Cogan didn’t accept that 00MA ran the risk of being portrayed as a lowbrow institution. ‘Collecting has taken off in a big way since Who Framed Roger Rabbit sparked the animation revival,’ be said. ‘People collect because they want things that make them feel good.’
His attitude to art is straightforward: ‘0ur last set of limited edition artwork sold out in three hours, despite the fact that some of it cost up to £4000. The fact that a collector is willing to pay that amount to own a genuine
piece states that it is true art.’ Defending GOMA against its critics, he pointed to its success in attracting visitors. ‘I think the populace, has said this is what we want it to be,’ he said. (Stephen Naysmith)
Film cuts will stiﬂe new work, council told
Council cutbacks have threatened the work of a pioneering film and video production centre.
The Film and Video Access Centre (FVA) provides training and facilities in Edinburgh tor anyone who wishes to gain skills in film production. Most of those who use the centre would otherwise miss out - 73 per cent are unwaged.
Now, Edinburgh City Council’s recreation committee has halved FVA’s budget trom £9163 to £4581 in an across-the-board cut affecting all projects receiving annual funding.
Ironically, the out comes just as National Lottery money, and a £3000 grant from the outgoing district
council, have allowed FVA to invest in state-of-the-art equipment.
‘We have iust been given £45,000 worth of gear but won’t be able to let anyone get access to it,’ says FVA treasurer Peter Cregson. ‘FVA is run mainly by volunteers, but we need to pay a coordinator for twenty hours a week to allow that to happen.’
FVA claims 90 people using the centre have gone on to tilm school or success in the film and television industries over the last ten years and 45 videos have won awards or been screened on television.
TV director Katrina McPherson made her first dance videos at FVA. She said the decision was shortsighted:
Cuts: would-be filmmakers could miss out
‘0ne band is giving while the other is taking away. I was given a couple at lessons there six years ago, then left to get on with it, which was exactly what I needed. I got into college on the strength of what I did.’
McPherson has since worked on television programmes such as #8, Edinburgh flights and Prime Cuts. The opportunity to get on and make film was vital, she says. ‘It is important for people to make work. They can’t sit around waiting for an enormous budget to land on the table.’
The cutbacks seem a step backwards, as Scotland is being touted as the home of a thriving film industry. Cregson hopes the council will have a change of heart: ‘Where else can people go? There’s nowhere else that provides public access - commercial studios offer no training or support and cost six times as much.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council’s recreation department said financial restraints had forced some difficult decisions. However, she added: ‘0ur screen industry department is looking at the possibility of a longer-tenn strategy tor film and TV ventures in the city.’ (Stephen Naysmith)
Budgerigars go to show that art is not dead
An old people‘s home has been transformed by a work of art — but only after it was broken into pieces. ()ne elderly woman. who had not communicated to staff or residents for months. has only began talking again since viewing a fragment.
Sung Cycle by Matt Collishaw was part ofthe British Art Show. which recently ended in Edinburgh. Sited in the Royal Botanic Garden. it consisted of eight budgerigars in a large wire cage.
When the exhibition ended. the birds had to be found new homes. and the results have been startling. according to RBG curator. Paul Nesbitt: ‘Three went to an Edinburgh nursing home.
where one uncornrnunicative elderly
resident took an interest in them and started talking again. first to them. then to the other residents and staff.‘
Another pair went to a man who had been twice bereaved. ‘An old man who came in every morning without fail to feed our budgies. came in in tears one moming. He was a widower and only had a budgerigar for company. but it had fallen off its perch that morning and died. He asked for one of otrrs and we gave him two.‘
Nesbitt says this is a striking example ofart in action: ‘I suspect these budgies have given joy and pleasure to their new owners as well as those who came along to see the exhibit.‘
The budgies were particularly talkative because they were older. he
said. 'The artist told me “lfthese btrdgies aren‘t singing when I see the exhibit. you are a dead man." So i got opinionated old age budgies. I imagine them as Victor Meldrew budgies. ranting on and on. People loved the piece. but whether the birds understood what it was all about I don't know.‘
Bridget Wells. Duty Manager at Holly Lodge nursing home. conﬁrmed the impact their birds had had. Everyone has cheered up. Some ladies with dementia can‘t hold a conversation and are quite apathetic. it is amazing what something like this does.‘ she said. although she admitted there had been disputes about names for the birds. (Stephen Naysmith)
4 The List 31 May-l3 Jun 1996